Types of Damages in a Car Accident
Source: Unsplash | Matthew T Rader
If you’re starting your search to find one of the best car accident lawyers to file a personal injury lawsuit due to a car accident, you may be wondering what the total amount of compensation is that you might be able to get.
Compensation is related to damages, which means what the accident has cost you mentally, physically, and financially. As you probably know, if another driver’s negligence led to a car accident that injured you – and around 95 percent of car crashes are caused by human error, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – that driver’s insurer should pay you for damages. In most cases, a settlement will be reached so you’ll never have to go to trial.
But what exactly does “damages” include? It’s important for any victim of an injury due to a car accident to understand the different types of damages and how to value them. Without an understanding, it can be easy to make the mistake of accepting a settlement offer because you don’t know how much your claim might be worth. You could end up getting much less than what you could have otherwise recovered.
When you’re in a car accident, it’s important to be seen by a professional medical provider as some injuries don’t produce immediate symptoms but may show up later and require medical care. That means even if you only have a few bruises, you should get checked out and those and any medical expenses will be included in the damages in a car accident. Of course, they don’t just include minor injuries, they can include but aren’t limited to expenses for the hospital stay, cognitive, or physical therapy, fees for the ambulance, health care provider consultations, in-home services, accessories like crutches, prosthetic devices, disfigurement, and/or permanent disability. The expenses include all costs that have been incurred as a result of the accident, as well as future costs.
There’s even more to consider, too – if your physician believes you’ll need future therapy or treatments at the time your claim is settled, your lawyer will calculate what the costs are likely to be with the assistance of doctors and other medical professionals. If a driver is liable for the death or another, the surviving family can file a wrongful death claim in addition to any medical expenses that were incurred between the accident and the time of death.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering refers to noneconomic damages that victims have experienced. This is intangible, and could be substantial depending on the diagnosis from professional medical providers and the nature of injuries. The legal definition of this is physical or mental distress for which one may recover damages in a lawsuit, such as depression, anxiety, or physical pain.
Loss of Income
When a victim of an accident is unable to work, whether it’s for a temporary period or permanently, they can recover damages for loss of that income. Calculating the amount lost is usually straightforward, but if the victim is permanently disabled that will also have to include future loss of income and/or reduction in earning capacity. Doing that can be rather complex which is why experienced car accident attorneys utilize their network of experts to determine complex future wage and earnings losses.
Loss of Quality of Life
If the injuries resulting from a car accident leaves a person with a permanent disability and a permanent reduction in the quality of their life, they can also seek and recover damages to compensate for this.
Loss of Consortium
In some cases, victims are left with a disabling condition that prevents them from enjoying a normal relationship they’ve previously shared with their spouse, the spouse can file a claim for damages for loss of consortium. Keep in mind this is separate from the total compensation the injured victim receives.
Loss of Enjoyment
If an injury victim is prevented from enjoying day-to-day pursuits such as exercise, recreational activities and hobbies, they may be able to recover loss of enjoyment damages.
If an accident leaves a victim scarred or permanently disfigured in another way, he or she can also recover damages related to disfigurement in the personal injury claim.